You’re too fat! You’re too skinny! You're too tall! Your nose is too big! Your mouth is too small! Are all the messages being thrown at women and men, whether subliminal or blatant. Magazines and advertisements paint pictures of what is conventionally beautiful.
People Playing Pretend
Over the years I have come to see that this ideal beauty is false, an artificial version of real life! Where the models rarely look like themselves after they’ve been photo shopped. As a kid and an adult, I strive for this picture-perfect beauty that appeal to the widespread media and my male peers. I am under pressure to do so. Although, when I say “whatever” to throw caution to the wind and opt to be myself, I am met with opposition. Jaz! That it’s not “lady like” or “proper”.
Why can’t I feel good about my body any way I am and not be put down for refusing to conform to the mold of outward perfection?
Body image isn’t only about your figure. It attacks your face, arms, hands, legs, personality, behavior and intellect. In the world of inundating Social Media, people are constantly being told that what they are is just not good enough. It is no wonder why adolescent girls are prone to eating disorders, depression and constantly trying to live up to a picture of something that doesn’t even exist in real life.
I absolutely abhor it when I go out, dressed nicely, wearing make-up and heels and get questions like “Who are you trying to look good for?” ME, the answer is me. I’m looking good for myself. I enjoy the feeling of pampering myself, looking nice and gazing in the mirror. It may sound vain, but those are the types of things that combat deep insecurities and self-doubt, that say I am not okay just the way I am.
For the first time in my life I have started to realize what the quote “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, really means. People will always tell you what’s wrong with you. But surrounding yourself with people, who love you for you, helps you to be better in a positive way and see your beauty inside and out. That is what matters in life. Not striving for this unattainable perfection, injecting yourself with toxins and lifting and tucking your skin in order to fit into the mold. Looks fade. Who you are is what matters. So if body image was focused inward we would have a better world.
Not a perfect one, but a place where it’s okay to have leg hair, wear shorts, and not be chastised for not living up to the Barbie doll standard. Throughout this last week, I have reflected on not only what body image means but the role I play in its perpetuation. I have become conscious of the fact that I contribute to the world around me. I contribute to the “society” that I was so quick to point the finger.
Being a Part of the Problem
I have become conscious that I often have been in the sea of ridiculing faces and words for shaming women and men based on their body type or physical attraction, as vain as that may be. This is not an outward profession directed toward specific individuals, but an inward understanding that prompts me to make snide comments or gawking stares.
I think this comes with the fact that I am not okay with myself. I’m internally critical on an astronomical scale and I am quick to point out the imperfections of others. This perpetuates the cycle. Making an effort to not be a part of the problem that has affected me and many others, may be the first step in accepting myself…for my own imperfections.